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Missing link work up next

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POSTED July 29, 2013 12:32 a.m.


Another missing piece of what ultimately is expected to reign as Manteca’s premier road south of the 120 Bypass — Atherton Drive — is expected to be built in 2014.
Some $3.5 million has been set aside in the City of Manteca capital improvement plan budget for the 4,100-foot long segment between Union Road and a point just east of Sparrowhawk Drive. It will effectively connect Atherton Drive with Union Road and Airport Way.
When completed Atherton Drive will run from where it intersects with Woodward Avenue near Moffat Boulevard to the new alignment of McKinley Avenue.
The City Council in April approved a negative environmental impact document for the extension. The project is being funded with growth fees already collected from new construction. It is expected to take additional pressure off Woodard Avenue.
The city changed its long-range traffic circulation plans south of the 120 Bypass to avoid converting Woodward Avenue into a four-lane road. Instead, with the just completed $9 million Woodward corridor project that included sewer and storm lines the road was repurposed as a wide two-lane street with a center median that will be lined with trees.
It was designed to project the lifestyle of those in nearly 70 homes along Woodward Avenue. Plus the council believed it made no sense to have two parallel four-lane arterials within a quarter mile of each other.
Atherton Drive will also serve as the main surface street tying the 1,050-acre Austin Road Business Park with the rest of Manteca.
Austin Road Business Park includes:
•3.5 million square feet of general commercial or about 26 times the square footage of the Manteca Costco store.
•At least 2,358 traditional single family homes and 1,840 multi-family dwelling units such as townhouses, apartments, and condos  that can accommodate up to 10,200 people or just under a seventh of the city’s existing population.
•8 million square feet of industrial/business park, and office use or space equal to 17 times the coverage area of the Ford Motor Parts distribution center on Spreckels Avenue,
•The potential to create up to 13,000 jobs — or close to 50 percent of the existing jobs in the city — with between 3,000 and 6,000 jobs coming from the industrial and business park portion and the balance from possible retail uses.
As development takes place the missing segments of the Atherton Drive separated bike path will be put in place by the private sector. Segments are already in place on both sides of Airport Way, in front of the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley and from the Paseo Apartments to Woodward Avenue near Moffat Boulevard.
It is also Manteca’s first four-lane arterial that doesn’t follow the north-south and east-west grid pattern of straight streets a mile apart as it curves. Atherton Drive will ultimately start in the west at McKinley Avenue and end in the south abutting Ripon’s city limits.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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